Magnetic Fields to play at Mission Creek Festival

BY DI STAFF | MARCH 28, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Magnetic Fields, an American indie-pop group led by musical auteur Stephin Merritt, will perform today as one of the first headliners of Mission Creek Festival.

The quintet's performance will begin at 8 p.m. in the Englert Theater, 221 E. Washington St. Admission is $32.

Merritt started the group in 1989, and though the band's lineup has changed in the past 23 years, some things remain the same.

"All of the tracks are always written by me," the 46-year-old musician said. "And the songwriting process has always remained the same. I sit in gay bars with a pen, my notebook, and a cocktail while I listen to music, eavesdrop on conversations, and try to write songs."

The Magnetic Fields' latest album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, was released on March 5 and was met with generally favorable reviews.

"I only [read reviews] in the first few days," Merritt said. "I like the initial impressions that people have of the album, which is always very different form the later impressions that people have."

And while the Magnetic Fields' latest album features the heavy use of synthesizers and electric instruments, fans will hear organic variations of the tracks at the Englert today.

"We have never actually paid attention to the sounds of the album when planning the live performances," Merritt said. "We play acoustic-based sets; the only electronic instrument onstage is a little tiny pocket piano that I use for a few songs."

— by Jordan Montgomery

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